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January 14, 2019updated 10 Jan 2019 6:30pm

The majority of UK adults are unsure how to protect their online privacy

By Ellen Daniel

Data privacy stories exposing how the likes of Facebook and Google handle user data dominated the headlines in 2018.

However, nearly one year after Cambridge Analytica and the introduction of GDPR, the majority of UK adults are still uncertain about how best to protect their privacy online.

This is according to a survey of 2,000 respondents by OnePoll, conducted by Your Eyes Only (YEO) a newly launched private messaging app.

The results revealed that over half of people are now more wary about exactly how private their personal messages are, with 56% of UK adults saying they have avoided sending certain information over messaging platforms due to data privacy concerns.

Data privacy scandals have harmed public trust

This follows the revelation late last year that Facebook had allowed third-party advertisers, including Spotify and Netflix, access to users’ private Facebook messages.

This extensive coverage of various user data scandals has had an impact on public trust. The survey showed that trust in social media platforms is waning, with more than half of UK adults who use social media of the opinion that major social media platforms have their best interests at heart.

For some this has been enough to part ways with some social media platforms. According to new data from Pew Research Center, four in ten US Facebook users sampled have taken a break from Facebook over the past year.

However, despite an increased awareness of the issue of online privacy, and fears over how companies are using data, the survey suggested that many are unsure how to respond. 77% of respondents said that they do not know exactly what data is collected and used by these platforms, with a further 60% saying that they did not know how to stop tech companies from collecting and selling their data.

Privacy changes made by social media sites and messaging platforms have also been met with a lack of engagement, with more than a third of respondents saying they had not reviewed their privacy setting, with over half saying that terms and conditions are too long or confusing.

Alan Jones, founder of YEO believes that there is a need for a secure platform with a more transparent user data policy:

“It has been clear to us for some time that there is a real gap for a messaging platform which allows its users to clearly understand, in simple terms, how their data and content is protected and remains private to them. We want to put the control firmly back into the hands of the individuals who use the platform, safe in the knowledge that it won’t be shared with a faceless third party.”